Over the last year, I've managed to complete 4, Beth has done 5, out of the 9 Great Walks. These are the Northern Circuit, Lake Waikaremoana, Whanganui River Journey, and now Abel Tasman. I should have had 5 completed, but my little mishap climbing in December prevented me from doing Routeburn last Christmas. However, its looking like I might run it this Summer if my ankle is co-operating by then. We have already booked for Milford and Raikura for this summer with Beth's parents. We may even do the Otago Rail Trail while we are down there. Any way I digress from the story I was meant to be telling: Our tramp across the Abel Tasman.
The next morning, we broke down the tent and had some breakfast, oats with fruit for me and a pop tart for Beth, prior to heading off to Anapai Bay. We left early knowing that we would have to wait at Awaroa Hut for low tide to cross and it would be a prime spot for lunch. My ankle didn't bother me during the morning section as I stretched it pretty good at breakfast. I did several sets of the alphabet with both ankles to get them ready for the trail. Once the again the actual trail itself wasn't difficult. They are wide, well graded, several sites that provide filtered water, have ample stocked flushing toilets, and for the most part devoid of any mud. This is a departure from the other Great Walks we have done where they are a little more rugged. I definitely wasn't expecting this, but it was welcomed departure from tramping grade tracks given my ankle issues. However, it means that people don't go in being prepared for when things aren't handed to them on other trails.
So the final day, we had roughly 13km to the trail head in Wainui. Our shuttle was scheduled for pick-up at 1:30 so we figured we would get out around noon and have some lunch as it isn't a short drive back to Nelson. We made our way down the beach with a short stop to marvel at some rock formations that looked awesome for bouldering. After about an hour we had our first South Bound travelers. We deduced that they left from Mutton Cove as when we got there we could see a fresh set of tracks with poles coming from the campground. There was a fair amount of movement at the camp for 8am. There were even a few kayaks, which if you read DOC's brochure you shouldn't go further North than Onetahuti Bay because of remote and exposed coastline. We decided to cut inland toward the final hut, Whariwharangi, instead of walking the coastline to separation point. That detour of about 1km was supposed to add an additional hour to our tramping time and wasn't accounted for in our 13km for the day. We arrived at the hut about mid-morning and had a snack. We also ran into one of the other passengers in the shuttle. She had just started her trip South Bound. We talked about her itinerary for NZ in general and found it to be very weird. She was zigzagging all over the place, but after she said she was flying to some of the locations it made a bit more sense and that she wasn't going to rent a car. That just put her at the mercy of whatever company was doing the activity she wanted to do. Like after doing Tongariro Crossing, she was heading to Auckland to catch a shuttle that takes people to Waitomo Glow Worm Caves and Hobbiton. Both of which are hours South of Auckland and hours North of Taupo. So she would have to pass them just to come back to them. All because she thought she couldn't rent a car here. You can if your driver's license is in English. It's just that you drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right. Then again, I didn't drive for the first 4-5 months we lived here.